Money for nothin' . . .

I have to admit it: I'm an MTV addict.

I remember when we were growing up and we weren't allowed to watch Music Television because it was of the devil. Unfortunately, I fell into the devil's grip as Cyndi Lauper sang about the ultimate desire of girls [to have fun, in case you were uncertain]. I've been watching ever since. Of course they've not been playing as much music on MTV anymore, but they still had those compelling shows that achieve car wreck status: you know you shouldn't stare, but the spectacle draws you in.

You might be appalled that a minister would tune in to such programming, but I believe that MTV has been THE driving force in American culture during the past twenty years. MTV started August 1, 1981 [now Kelly finally knows why I wanted to get married on the first of August]. So the first teens who tuned in then would now be hitting forty. In the eighties, the network was acquired by media giant Viacom and has never looked back. PBS did an interesting look at the effect MTV was having on today's youth in a documentary a few years back. So if you want to know what's cool and what people idolize in the world today, this is the place to look.

What they've managed managed to do is create shows that appeal to the broad spectrum of views, from teens to adults. The Osbournes is a prime example. When that show came out a few years back the majority of teens had no idea who Ozzy or Black Sabbath were, but they loved watching the Osbourne kids and their crazy parents. They captured lightning in a bottle, and have done it more than once. I've loved shows like Made, Pimp My Ride, and Newlyweds, tuning in weekly to watch. And every once in awhile, I can even tolerate a season of the Real World [but we never miss the Real World/Road Rule Challenges]. Oh, and if anyone has a tape of the MTV Movie Awards let me know because we had a bad tape in at the time. For years, the programming was brilliant.

But the finally might be losing their touch. Recently they're putting less compelling junk out there and I'm not buying. This week I flipped to MTV and there was this Andy Milonakis show on. It's this kid who has done bits with Jimmy Kimmel with his own show doing his best Tom Green impersonation. Combine this with crap like the Ashlee Simpson show and Meet the Barkers and I'm watching Beauty and the Geek on WB.

I guess that's problem for the network that's obsessed with being cool. As anyone who hangs around with high school or college students knows, it's tough staying up-to-date on what's popular. One day you're on top of the heap, the next day you're upchuckin' in the gutter. They need to decide what they're programming is about because I'm starting to resonate more with VH1 [Best Week Ever rocks]. But maybe that's just the sign that I'm transitioning in life. They always used to say that VH1 was the network for old hipsters and I sure did love watching Styx on Behind the Music.

Come to think of it, maybe I've finally beat my MTV addiction. In the immortal words of generational philosopher Huey Lewis, "I want a new drug."